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Friday February 5th, 2016 7:27PM

Braves bats quiet in 2-0 loss to Iwakuma, Mariners

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA -- The Braves couldn't solve Hisashi Iwakuma and Seattle's stingy bullpen.<br /> <br /> The result was painfully familiar - Atlanta's seventh shutout loss of the season.<br /> <br /> Iwakuma combined with two relievers on a six-hit shutout, and the streaking Mariners beat Atlanta 2-0 on Wednesday to complete a two-game sweep.<br /> <br /> The Braves stranded runners in scoring position in the first two innings and then didn't have another baserunner reach second. They failed to score in the final 16 innings of the series.<br /> <br /> "It's hard on us," said Braves third baseman Chris Johnson, who had one hit. "It stings a little bit."<br /> <br /> Frustrating?<br /> <br /> "I wouldn't say the word frustrated because I know how hard these guys work," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.<br /> <br /> "We've been shut out (seven times). But it's a team that shouldn't be shut out because we're so talented offensively."<br /> <br /> Mike Minor (2-4) allowed only one run in seven innings, but the lack of run support left him with the loss. He is 0-2 in his last three starts despite allowing only a combined five runs.<br /> <br /> "It happens. They'll come around," Minor said of the Braves' bats.<br /> <br /> "It's not that hard because I know that eventually they'll score some runs. If I keep doing my job, like I said, we'll score runs."<br /> <br /> The Braves fell to 0-6 in interleague games.<br /> <br /> Cole Gillespie and Kyle Seager hit run-scoring singles. Seattle has won five straight, matching its longest winning streak of the season.<br /> <br /> Seattle won with a patchwork lineup that included Stefen Romero, who hit cleanup for the first time this year.<br /> <br /> Romero, who had a pinch-hit homer in Tuesday night's 7-5 win, took a .204 batting average into the game. He came through with two hits, including a triple, and scored a run.<br /> <br /> Willie Bloomquist had a single and a walk as he started at first base for the first time in four years and hit leadoff for only the second time this year.<br /> <br /> Iwakuma (4-2) gave up only six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. The right-hander was sharp, throwing 71 of his 96 pitches for strikes.<br /> <br /> "We had a tough time figuring out their starter," Gonzalez said. "The guy's only throwing 87, 88 miles an hour, but he sure looked like he was throwing a lot harder. I know he had movement and some deception, but we didn't square up too many balls against him. He was pretty darn good."<br /> <br /> Yoervis Medina pitched a perfect eighth before Fernando Rodney earned his 16th save with three straight outs in the ninth. Seattle relievers threw eight scoreless innings in the two-game sweep.<br /> <br /> Gillespie's RBI single in the fourth gave Seattle a 1-0 lead that held until the eighth, when Romero tripled off Luis Avilan. Pinch-runner James Jones scored on Seager's single to right field.<br /> <br /> Minor allowed only five hits and one run in seven innings. He matched his season high with 10 strikeouts.<br /> <br /> Freddie Freeman had three strikeouts against Iwakuma and finished 0 for 4.<br /> <br /> Gonzalez unsuccessfully challenged first-base umpire Will Little's ninth-inning call that Justin Upton was out at first base on the throw from shortstop Brad Miller. The review lasted only 40 seconds.<br /> <br /> <b>NOTES:>/b> Braves RHP Jordan Walden (strained left hamstring) will start a rehab stint with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. ... The Braves and Mariners are off Thursday. The Braves open a weekend series at Arizona on Friday, when RHP Julio Teheran faces RHP Brandon McCarthy. Seattle's East Coast swing shifts to Tampa Bay, when Mariners RHP Chris Young will face LHP Erik Bedard.
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